Everything you need to know about Coronavirus, Insurance Policies & Vaccination
The pandemic is an unfortunate episode that has been running itself for a year now. One should always be ready for any unanticipated situations before itself. As coronavirus itself is too hard to convince to go away, it has bounded the common man with financial liabilities. Because of this, many insurance companies have come up with covid health plans which are acting as financial aid for people, in case if they come into the hands of the virus.
What is Coronavirus?
According to the World Health Organization, Coronavirus or Covid-19 is “an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.” The virus widely spreads among humans causing respiratory illness.
Symptoms of Covid-19
After being exposed to coronavirus, symptoms may occur within 2-14 days of exposure. The most common symptoms include:
- Fever, chills and headache
- Difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath
- Loss of smell and taste
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea and diarrhoea
- Sore throat
With the new strain, the virus has become stronger causing a surge in cases around the country. The following symptoms are being seen among symptomatic patients:
- Sore throat
- Body ache. Muscle pain
- Chills with fever
- Nausea & vomiting
- Abdomen pain
Other symptoms include dry tongue, rashes and some cases of hearing loss and sore eyes have also been reported. The symptoms may cause further critical illness. Therefore, it is important that you get yourself tested for coronavirus, if you experience any of these symptoms.
Severe symptoms need hospitalization
Stay aware of any of the symptoms given above which demand hospitalization:
- Difficulty in breathing or breathlessness
- Dip in oxygen level (if Sp02 drops below 93, seek advice from a doctor even if there is no difficulty in breathing. Low Sp02 level calls for immediate hospitalization)
- Delirium or suffering from confusion, being sleepy and not being able to carry out any simple tasks
- Blue lips which indicate depletion of oxygen levels
- Chest pain or discomfort
Monitoring the symptoms given below is necessary as severity of these problems need immediate care.
The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India, has divided the severity of the disease into 4 categories- mild, moderate, severe & critical. Currently, hospitals are admitting patients depending on the severity of the disease due to the number of rising cases causing lack of beds. Other asymptomatic and symptomatic patients with mild symptoms are advised home isolation, following the treatment provided by the desired doctor.
Coronavirus health plans
These short-term plans are being provided by the health insurance companies for a limited period. The plans generally cover hospitalization expenses including pre-and post-hospitalization medical costs along with AYUSH treatment, ambulance charges, pharmacy bills, etc, if one tests positive for coronavirus.
Covid insurance problems faced by people
- Non-coverage of consumables
As much as these plans are beneficial for people, there are several issues associated with the coverage in covid-19 plans. A large amount of spending is done over consumables or single-use items such as PPE kits, masks, sanitization costs, surgical accessories such as tissue paper, gowns, and toiletries along with the expenses incurred during a patient’s treatment. This has been problematic as treatment in private hospitals is resulting in huge medical bills which are hard to pay. Many insurance companies do not include the costs of such items in their coverage which has further increased the conflicts between hospitals and these companies.
The costs of these items can amount to 10% of the total bill or even more, depending on the level of severity in some cases. Consumables have always been a part of most of the treatments. But due to the high treatment costs of covid-19, the use of consumables has increased as a part of precautionary measures.
These expenses are added as non-payable expenses and are usually not covered by insurance companies.
- Patient distancing in hospitals
Patient distancing in hospitals has also increased the costs of treatment in hospitals since only a smaller number of patients can be treated at the same time. Due to a large number of people bombarding government facilities, people prefer to be treated in private hospitals. But huge medical bills due to the costs of consumables and social distancing have made it difficult for the common man to afford them.
What if your policy does not cover treatment for novel Coronavirus?
There are high chances that your individual health policy may not cover the treatment for covid-19. With the rising costs of consumables, medicines and diagnostic tests, it is necessary that you have financial protection. In view of this, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) started an indemnity plan called Corona Kavach to protect individuals and families from novel coronavirus. The policy covers hospitalization expenses of individuals who test positive for covid-19.
The expenses covered by the policy include:
- Home care treatment
- AYUSH treatment
- Pre-post hospitalization
- ICU expenses
- Ambulance cover
Apart from this, the policy also covers the costs of consumables used during the treatment such as gloves, masks, PPE kits, cosmetics, toiletries along with other small expenses. Many insurance companies have come up with the Corona Kavach plan for covering covid-related expenses like Policy Bazar, HDFC Ergo, ICICI Lombard, Max Bupa, Bajaj Allianz and many others.
Benefits of Corona Kavach
- Larger sum insured (between Rs 50,000 and Rs 5,00,000)
- Can be bought for individual or family
- Less waiting period (only 15 days)
- Coverage of small expenses which were earlier treated as out-of-pocket expenses by insurance companies
- No room rent capping
- Policy tenure for 3.5, 6.5 & 9 months
Along with this, IRDAI has also come up with many short-term health plans and Corona Rakshak Policy. As per the latest notification of IRDAI, these policies will be in effect till 30th September this year.
Covid Vaccination Drive in India
India has already achieved the milestone of administering over 10 crore doses of covid-19 vaccines making it the fastest country in the world. Currently, two vaccines are being administered in India under the authorization of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) – Covishield & Covaxin. The drive began in January this year with the healthcare workers falling in the first group of vaccine administration.
Covaxin has been created by Bharat Biotech which is known to create innovative vaccines and bio-therapeutics. It is made up of killed coronaviruses which are recognized by the immune cells, thus, making antibodies against the virus in the body and has an efficacy rate of over 81%. On the other hand, Covishield has being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India which is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer. It is made up of weakened version of a common cold virus from chimpanzees, also known as adenovirus. The immune system starts making antibodies, once the vaccine is injected into a patient. It is about 70.4% effective and efficacy rate can be pushed to 90%, if the space between the doses is weeks apart.
The Russian vaccine- Sputnik V has also been approved for use in India carrying an efficacy rate of 91.6%. Other vaccines are also under trial in India- ZyCov-D (ongoing Phase III trial), Bio E COVID-19 (ongoing Phase I/II trial). HGC019 (ongoing Phase I trial), BBV154 (ongoing Phase I trial) and Covovax (ongoing Phase II trial).
People aged above 60 years and those between 45-59 years with comorbid conditions are being vaccinated in the first two phases. From May 1, the phase 3 of vaccination drive has already begun for those above the age of 18 years. The vaccine doses have to be taken 2 times by an individual. If a person has taken the first dose of Covaxin, he/she needs to get the second dose after 4-6 weeks. In the case of Covishield, the gap ranges from 4-8 weeks.
How to schedule vaccination?
One can easily register for Covid-19 vaccination using the Aarogya Setu app. Follow these steps to register:
- Download the ‘Aarogya Setu’ app on your mobile (available on both iOS & Android)
- Login with mobile no.
- Click the ‘COWIN’ tab. Among the 4 options appearing, click the vaccination option
- Register with your mobile no.
- You will be asked to provide your personal information along with ID proof.
- Follow further steps appearing on the screen and make an appointment to get vaccinated.
Why is it important to be vaccinated?
It is important to get vaccinated against coronavirus as one will be able to do more things that had to be stopped due to the pandemic. The body will be immune to the virus and the severity of the disease among old-aged people will reduce. The vaccines are safe with very mild symptoms such as fever, pain and swelling appearing within a few hours which are considered normal.
As a nation, we must come together in giving a boost to the vaccination drive by taking part in it so that, we can go back to a normal life, away from the pandemic!
Protect yourself from coming in contact with Covid-19
Take the following precautions to prevent coronavirus:
- Wear your masks regularly
- Avoid going out for entertainment purposes
- Wash your hands frequently
- Follow social distancing and avoid going to crowded places such as malls, markets etc.
- Cough or sneeze over your elbows and not on hands
- Disinfect objects and surfaces regularly
- Stay away from people who are sick
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
How can ClaimTherapist help?
If you need to get vaccinated, we can help you through the process and getting an appointment with zero waiting. Apart from this, our role in diagnostic assistance also includes scheduling diagnostic tests for novel coronavirus. We also help our customers in selecting the best hospital for admission and checking availability of beds. ClaimTherapist can also assist you in your claim processing, pick and drop services and decoding the terms & conditions of your coronavirus policy. Contact us now for a seamless journey & do remember – ‘Do Gaj ki Doori, Mask hai Zaroori!'